The following is a press release from the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office:
The Sheriff Al Cannon Detention Center is the largest and busiest county detention facility in South Carolina, based on the capacity and the number of inmates booked-in daily (https://sheriff.charlestoncounty.org/files/det-stats.pdf?v2).
Protocols are in place to provide personnel with guidelines for the education, prevention, response and control of an infectious disease outbreak at the Detention Center. The detention center has a capacity of 2,000 inmates. The current inmate population is 917. The relatively low inmate population is due largely in part to the multi-agency partnership, over the past several years, of the Charleston County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (https://cjcc.charlestoncounty.org/). Detention center staff remain in ongoing communication with the Courts about inmates that may qualify for release. All hearings are conducted by individual video conference.
- The Sheriff does not have the authority to release inmates without Court orders.
- The Sheriff does not have the authority to further detain an individual once the Court orders a release, regardless of that person’s status.
The Detention Center’s medical infirmary is accredited by the National Commission on Correctional Health Care. It is the only SC detention infirmary certified as a medical facility by DHEC. The medical infirmary does have negative pressure rooms available.
In response to the Coronavirus pandemic:
- All detainees transported to the Detention Center, regardless of origin or arresting agency (local, state or federal), are screened through a series of questions prior to entry/classification into general population as an inmate. Detention deputies will observe the detainee for symptoms and ask a series of medically approved questions designed to identify potentially infected individuals. These questions also determine whether the detainee has recently traveled from a high risk area, so that he/she can be isolated, as ordered by the Governor. Any detainee that answers positive to certain questions or appears to be symptomatic is fitted with a mask and further screened by a nurse, for isolation and care as needed.
- All detainees transported to the Detention Center, regardless of origin or arresting agency (local, state or federal), are temperature-checked prior to entry/classification into general population as an inmate. An elevated temperature triggers a response from a nurse and a mask is fitted on the detainee.
- All detainees transported to the Detention Center, regardless of origin or arresting agency (local, state or federal), are questioned about their medical history so that any high-risk individual is identified, treated (if necessary) and monitored.
- All employees are temperature-checked prior to entry into the facility.
- There are 56 single-occupancy units designated as isolation rooms.
- There are currently 9 inmates in isolation. All 9 are isolated as a precautionary measure.
- All inmate internal transfers between different housing units have ceased.
- The Detention Center will soon be performing daily temperature-checks and questionnaire screens of all current inmates. The same response procedures as above will be followed.
- A contracted company is in the process of sanitizing all Sheriff’s Office vehicles. This is mandatory for all issued law enforcement and detention vehicles.
- A contracted company is in the process of sanitizing the entire detention center.
Positive COVID-19 cases:
- All COVID-19 inmates will be quarantined in the medical infirmary under the close observation of medical personnel. No inmates will be transferred to a hospital unless medical professionals deem it necessary. Detention center personnel will make every effort to contact the inmate’s next-of-kin.
- There are currently 3 COVID-19 inmates quarantined under treatment in the medical infirmary.
- Any COVID-19 inmate that receives a court ordered release will be provided with a mask prior to leaving the facility. They will be given instructions and informed of the requirement to contact DHEC upon release. Additionally, detention center personnel will notify DHEC of the individual’s identity and home address.
This information also applies to the Charleston County Juvenile Detention Center.